Three SIA pilots face probe

When Harry Lee gets his teeth into an issue its a little like wrestling with a pitbull. The pilots have not been charged, they are suspected of doing something. It is actions such as the branding as ‘undersirable’ that appear every now and then just to remind Singaporeans, to keep their mouth shut and that we should all be afraid, be very afraid.


Sacked SIA Captain Ryan Goh, who had his PR status revoked, renews flying licence

Three SIA pilots face probe

By Karen Wong

DID they help an ex-colleague, branded an ‘undesirable immigrant’, to renew his pilot’s licence here?

The saga of Captain Ryan Goh will take another twist when three Singapore Airlines pilots go before a high-powered SIA inquiry panel.

They are suspected of helping Capt Goh, 43, to use SIA’s flight simulator to pass two flying tests – one of the requirements by the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) to renew a pilot’s flying licence.

If the sacked pilot’s access to SIA’s simulator for the tests was a breach of company rules, the three SIA pilots who helped him face disciplinary action.

This could range from a warning to suspension to ‘summary termination’, which means an immediate sack.

If they are instructor pilots, they could lose their instructor status.

No specific charges have been levelled at the three pilots, sources told The New Paper. But it probably relates to the use of SIA’s flight simulator by Capt Goh, a Malaysian who had his Singapore Permanent Resident status revoked over his role in a pilots union dispute.

The president of the Air-Line Pilots Association-Singapore (Alpa-S), Captain Mok Hin Choon, declined to comment when contacted by The New Paper.

He would only say: ‘I’ve been asked to give statements for the investigation.’

When contacted by The New Paper, an SIA spokesman said: ‘This is an internal matter which is being examined by the company and we have nothing more to add.’

It is understood that three senior management members will sit on the inquiry panel in line with company procedure.


Sources said Capt Goh was allowed to use the simulator as it was believed he only wanted to put in some practice time.

It is understood the use of the SIA simulator is not exclusive to SIA pilots and time slots are leased out to pilots of other airlines.

Capt Goh went through a ‘recurrency practice’ and a ‘base check’ on two occasions, Oct 21 and Oct 27, while he was on a visit here. This helped him to get his licence re-certified by CAAS after he was told to leave Singapore.

Pilots usually use the flight simulation centre to train and sit for two tests, which they have to pass in order to renew their Singapore flying licences.

Asked about its requirements for pilot licence-renewal, a CAAS spokesman replied: ‘An Airline Transport Pilot Licence is required to be renewed once every six months.

‘The renewal process is made up of two parts. The pilot needs to pass a medical test, and he also needs to pass a skills test and an instrument rating test.

She added: ‘Captain Ryan Goh’s Airline Transport Pilot Licence has been renewed because he fulfilled the requirements.’

Since he left SIA, Capt Goh has been having trouble finding work despite applying to several international airlines, sources said.

He had not been flying for a while, and his licence was expiring.

The New Paper understands that one cannot fly for a foreign-based airline with a Singapore-issued pilot’s licence, unless one sits for new tests in the country which the airline is based and get a pilot’s licence issued from there.

A Singapore-issued licence will allow Capt Goh to fly on any Singapore-registered airline, like Valuair, Tiger Airways and Jetstar Asia.

But, it remains to be seen if he can find work here. As a foreigner, he will need to apply for an employment pass if he is to be based here.


Capt Goh was found to be an ‘undesirable immigrant’ following his involvement in a pilots union dispute.

Capt Goh, who was living here from 1981, was singled out by then Senior Minister Lee Kuan Yew for instigating the ouster of Alpa-S leaders in November 2003, amid unhappiness over wage negotiations.

He was accused of threatening industrial peace in SIA – which could also affect the overall interests of Singapore.

Home Affairs Minister Wong Kan Seng then declared that he was an ‘undesirable immigrant’, and his permanent resident status was revoked.

It is understood that, as an ‘undesirable immigrant’, he would have to leave Singapore for good and must be given special permission to visit.

He would also not be allowed to look for a job here.

On May 1 last year, Capt Goh left Singapore for Perth, Australia, where his wife and two sons live.


Bruce Nauman

A few of my students have been asking me what I have been doing. Well the link below will give you an example of lazy days visiting museums and art exhibitions. I visited the Tate Modern In London in November 2004 and recorded an installation by Bruce Nauman. It requires windows media player, which the majority of people have.

If you need more information on Bruce Nauman you can click here. Or visit the Tate Modern site to read the words that you hear in the video I recorded.

I often visited exhibitions in Singapore but since arriving in the UK I have become overwhelmed by the number, frequency and diversity of things to go and see. Something I missed while living in Singapore.

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The Incestous World Of Singapore’s State Run Enterprises

Mellanie Hewlitt

23 Jan 2005

Singapore Review

I was very amused by Mr Chen Hwai Liang’s weak and shallow rebuttal of Gary Rodan’s December article “The Coming Challenge to Singapore Inc.” Mr Chen had stated that:

a) “GLCs are run commercially. Their managements are answerable to their boards, which in turn answer to shareholders” and

b) “Most major GLCs are publicly listed”

These flippant statements by a senior representative of government (from the Prime Minister’s Office) on what are already publicly known “secrets” will only cast more shadows and doubts over the credibility of public administration in Singapore. It is a known fact that GLCs (Government Linked Companies), whether in the form of TLCs (Temasek Linked Companies), GICs (Government Investment Corporation) or SOEs (State Owned Entities) enjoy many special privileges which ordinary bonafide private sector companies do not.

Regardless of how they are coined by the government, “GLCs” are viewed suspiciously by the general investing public and members of the international community. On the surface, these entities look and sound like bonafide business concerns. Many are listed on the Singapore Stock Exchange.But this is a skin deep appearnce which ends when one peers into the internal management of these companies. Under closer scrutiny, little has changed as regards management of Singapore’s GLCs/TLCs/GICs (or whatever fancy new terms the authorities wish to coin) and the old issues concerning TRANSPARENCY, ACCOUNTABILITY, NEPOTISM and PERFORMANCE still remain.

…to continue reading click here.

The Lunatics Have Taken Over the Asylum?

By Lunatics I mean, certain strata of the management


Has anyone out there similar experiences, of management expecting you to bend over backwards for the customer/student/client. No matter how ridiculous the request, the management, because they are ‘customer’ focused, even though, the letter is from a ‘student’ demand that it be taken seriously. After this letter was circulated I realised that a lot of students were sitting there trying to work out whether my tie matched my shirt, rather than taking notes and listening. What do you think, read on…? I’d really appreciate your ‘feedback’.

Subject: Lecturers who need grooming

Dear Mr Vice President

I am right now a part-time student studying in (Name Removed). I have been to the (removed) for a month now and my impression of the school is fairly good. I met great lecturers, both looks (not great but pleasant enough) as well as class professionalism. One is very interesting and motivating, one not too bad and the other two very boring. So long as they don’t put us off in any way, we will continue to go for as many boring classes as well. Granted that we should be there to learn but it is also very true that we feel motivated when we see pleasant lecturers. Lecturers who look and smell unpleasant will put us off!

Some lecturers could be nice in the heart but certainly the smell together with the look that we see in them will also have effect on our desire to learn. When lecturers belge in a class, it can be totally disgusting especially when the lecturer is standing just next to us. Some lecturers have bad body odour which need some corrections, especially those overweight, including those not so overweight. I have seen about 5 or 6 fat lecturers although some are not my lecturers. One is a woman. They lack exercise. It is good for both their health and looks to go to (removed) down in (removed), 5 minutes from the (removed).

I read in the newspaper recently about staff development for the lecturers in this (removed). They should go for grooming classes. Pardon me for being so direct in my comments but it is my true feelings about the (removed). I hope the management will take care of the lecturers’ health. The lecutrers (sic) will also project a better image of the school if they look good themselves. Realistically and true to my heart, I look forward to go to a class with a lecturer who is both pleasant to look at and great at lecturing. I truthfully admit that I have at least one at the moment. I hope to see more of them.

I thank you for listening to my true and direct feelings. Please do not take offence at my comments. I truthfully appreciate your attention to my mail. Thank you for your precious time.

Oh I appreciate this ‘feedback’. Management then demands that we take this b.s. seriously. What I said when presented with the letter by my supervisor, and asked for ‘feedback’ cannot be printed…

No economic clout = no political constituency = no audible political voice

Singaporean spending not central to Singapore economy

by Robert Schwartz, 20 Jan 2005

Writing about Singapore’s economic outlook is boring. It’s not that there is nothing to say, it’s that there is nothing to say about Singapore itself. A pertinent discussion of Singapore’s near term prospects for the first half of 2005 has to start with the effects of the tsunami. This then would segue over to the actions of America’s Federal Reserve Bank, which in turn would be followed by a pithy, yet substantive, look at the global electronics cycle.

Where do the people of Singapore fit into this analysis? Hopefully as readers of this piece, but that’s about as far as it goes.

In 2001, the Ministry of Trade and Industry published a paper that looked at the four primary, long term drivers of Singapore’s economy. The number one influence was growth in the United States. Number two? Growth in the economies of Indonesia and Malaysia. Third was global semiconductor sales. And rounding out the top four was domestic construction.

But wait, you might say, what about Singaporeans’ love of shopping? Certainly that has to count for something? You’re right it does. The problem is that Singaporeans love of shopping is usually done someplace other than Singapore. The fastest growing component of private consumption over the past decade or so has been Resident Expenditure Abroad.

Of the spending done in Singapore, the fastest growing type of retailer (by far) has been motor vehicle dealers. From 1997 to the third quarter of 2004, dealership sales had increased by a total of nearly 260%, not including the effects of inflation. The next fastest growing category was supermarkets, which grew by a total of nearly 32%. Overall, non-motor vehicle retail turnover grew, excluding inflation, by a total of 7.1% from 1997 through September 2004.

The key to Singapore’s retail sector is not the average Singaporean. The key to retail in Singapore is the overseas visitor. If you want to get a handle on how well the sector is doing, look at the growth in visitor numbers. These have traditionally led the retail numbers.

So again, where does this leave the people of Singapore? In their government housing units voting for the PAP every so often and that’s about it. As far as making the economy move forward, the average Singaporean is a non-event. And as such has little say in the political environment. No economic clout = no political constituency = no audible political voice. [This might be read as an enraging statement, but then again, being Singaporean you’d probably just shrug your shoulders…]

The consumer’s share of Singapore’s economy is around 42%. This compares to about 55% in Japan, a country notorious for saving, and close to 70% in the United States. It is not coincidental that the average American, who is such a vital part of the US economy, has such a central role in the political sphere.

In fact, the average consumer in the United States has more power over the direction of the Singapore economy than does the average Singaporean. It is the continually increased spending on ever more gadget-filled electronics equipment or on a new lifestyle drug done by a typical American that drives the sales which drive Singapore’s production.

To be fair to the government, it knows that any money spent on boosting the consumption of average Singaporeans is money that will very quickly find its way to foreign shores. As such, the PAP has decided that it would prefer not to spend its hard-earned tax revenues boosting the local economies of Batam, Johore or Bangkok.

This is also why the government’s interest in the domestic consumer economy is limited to construction. This is a section of the economy that can’t be taken out of the country. The problem here is that by the mid-1990s the residential property was way ahead of the average Singaporean in terms of price, affordability and location. As a result, the property sector took a serious dive. Furthermore, neither the public nor private housing markets have come close to hitting the highs reached in 1996/1997.

The problem with this emphasis on property is that it has handcuffed many Singaporeans. A typical private residence bought between the beginning of 1994 and the beginning of 1998 has, at best, not appreciated. At worst, this homeowner could have held onto this asset for over a decade and have it being worth less today than when it was purchased. This means that a Singaporean family could been paying off a mortgage that was higher than the value of the property itself. This negative equity is extremely depressing, both economically and psychologically.

Alright, so where does this leave us? Talking about things far from Singapore’s borders. And, quitefrankly, it’s a bit boring, not to mention impolite, to talk about other people’s lives instead of yourown. But when your lives don’t count for much,economically, there just isn’t much point to a conversation.

The crescendo builds up as everybody scrambles to raise charges

Following the latest round of fee hikes imposed by the 3 local universities in Singapore, we circulate below article by a reader.

By: Lim Boon Hee

22 Jan 2005

Singapore Review

A pattern that leads to inevitable hikes …

The masses are resigned to this ‘natural order of things’

THE same symphonic pattern emerges.

First, the prelude, with the local media heralding a slew of statistics announcing the arrival of better economic times.

Then, a premature suggestion to restore the ministers’ and top civil servants’ pay cuts, which was greeted with unpopular feedback by many who felt that the economic upturn benefits have yet to filter down the masses.

The main theme comes into play with miscellaneous school fees and town councils’ service and conservancy charges going up.

This will inevitably lead to more government and quasi-government bodies following suit.

The crescendo builds up as everybody scrambles to raise charges, taking the cue and green light from the early birds who first up their fees.

The finale ends in an anti-climax as the masses resign themselves to their fate — the swallows have arrived, spring has come, the flowers are blooming and so prices must go up.

We are led to believe that this is the natural order of things.

Oddly enough, when times were really bad and many retrenched, things took much longer to come down and the cuts were, if any, merely token symbolic ones.

What is worse is every price increase is met with the rhetorical reassurance that nobody would be deprived of basic services despite the hikes and the social net is always there for those who really cannot afford the increment.

The other tired argument to justify the hikes is that the charges have not been increased for so many years and therefore the increase is way overdue.

This is cold comfort as most Singaporeans would rather tighten their belts than go through the hassle of applying for poor men’s benefitsfrom the government.

So what is next? University and polytechnic fees, transport hikes,hospital bills, parking charges, stamps …


Lim Boon Hee